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05 March 24 Press releases

New car commentary | March 2024

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director of Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, commented:

New car sales growth is up again but it continues to be fuelled by an especially strong fleet sector, as growing numbers of drivers take advantage of benefit in kind and salary sacrifice schemes to overcome the electric upfront price barrier.

Key spokesperson

Ian Plummer

Commercial Director

CONNECT

“As we’ve highlighted since last summer, we’re seeing very clear signs of the new car market fully pivoting and returning to a ‘push’ model. Manufacturers facing a challenging combination of new regulatory targets, softening retail sales, and increased pressure from new brands, have little choice but to turn to substantial offers to stimulate flat retail demand and entice buyers. This is already playing through on our marketplace; new car advert views were up 38% YoY to 6.6m in February. By the end of the month, we saw an especially strong uplift in EV enquiries, doubling to 20% with some manufacturers offering significant discounts to tempt buyers. This includes the Honda e:Ny1, with headline offers that fell below £200pcm, helping it to take around 12.5% of all new EV enquiries in February. Clearly, such a strong message of affordability is turning many car buyers’ heads. Average EV discounts remain around 10%, but as the pressure to achieve the strict ZEV Mandate target begins to tighten, this sort of extreme discounting risks becoming more common.

“The March plate change will be a crucial month for new car sales. We want to ensure our partners have the best opportunity to profit during this peak period, so we’re helping them promote their new car deals to a broad an audience as possible with a creative multi-channel marketing campaign targeting the circa 10 million unique visitors to our platform every month, and our more than 2 million followers and subscribers.”

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